Q&A: Meg Kearney

Meg Kearney, photo by Gabriel Parker
There are a lot of wonderful writers living in our state. As the Director of the NH Center for the Book  I get the opportunity to talk to many of them. This interview series of Q&As with New Hampshire authors here on Book Notes lets me share that experience a bit with my blog readers. 
If someone hasn't read your work yet, where should they start? 
It depends on how old he/she is! Adults should start with my most recent book of poems, Home By Now. Teens should start with my first young-adult novel-in-verse, The Secret of Me. And children should start with my picture book, Trouper. (That said, I like to think adults would like all of my books!) 

When did you first think of yourself as a writer? 
I started writing short stories in second grade, and poetry in sixth grade. I think before I finished elementary school I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t dare call myself one until I was in my twenties and published my first poem. Even then, I was a bit shy about using that term.

How did you end up living in NH? 
In 2005, I left the National Book Foundation in New York to found a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. At the time, I didn’t want to move to Boston; I figured this was my chance to own a home in the country. And since I’d been coming to the White Mountains every summer for more than 20 years, New Hampshire already felt like a home away from home. It’s a crazy commute three days a week, but worth it; plus, I stay sane by listening to audio books. 

Where do you like to write? 
My favorite place to write is in a little cabin in Franconia, where I go for a week or two every August. But I have a lovely writing room in my home where I like to write; I also write out on the front porch when weather permits.
How important is place in your writing? 
Extremely. Place is sort of a character in much of my work.

What do you do when you aren't writing? 
I’m an avid reader, walker/hiker, and cross-country skier. Plus I’m very close with my family, and go visit them in New York State’s Hudson Valley about every six weeks. 

What’s the best piece of advice (writing or otherwise) you were ever given? 
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re not capable.”

What books do you love and what about them speaks to you? 
Oh, there are too many books to name! I’m always reading contemporary poetry, most of it American though I have an interest in the poetry of other cultures. And I adore nineteenth-century novels. What I’m always seeking is writers/books that inspire me to write, and different writers strike me that way at different times. Probably the number-one fiction writer who inspires me to write poems is Virginia Woolf.

What are you working on now? 
I’ve spent the last two years working on a series of what I call “the bird poems.” There are 100 now all together, and I’m hoping in the end that at least 30 will be worth keeping. But recently I’ve had to set that project aside in order to begin the last book in my young-adult verse-novel trilogy.

What do you want to share that I neglected to ask about? 
One of my great joys is not only reading my work for audiences, but also teaching poetry—especially when my students are young people.

To learn more about Meg Kearney's work please visit www.megkearney.com

No comments: